I See Glory

I See Glory

From Chicken Soup for the Nurse's Soul Second Dose

I See Glory

There are only two kinds of people in the end:those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.”

C. S. Lewis

Ms. Sally was a frail woman with totally white coarse hair. Her skin was so ebony it appeared a deep hue of blue. Her tiny frame was curled in the fetal position. She didn’t respond to painful stimuli or loving gestures. It was difficult to position her body using pillows with all her muscles contractured. It didn’t keep me from trying to make her comfortable. She looked like someone’s grandma lying there, but no one was at her bedside. I checked her chart and learned she was a patient from the local nursing home. She had one son who lived in Arizona. She was alone.

I worked the midnight shift, 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM. I was a new nurse and very unsure of myself, but that was a good thing as far as the patients were concerned. I made extra rounds every night to make sure my patients were comfortable, IVs were running on time, and to catch any potential problems early.

If the night was quiet, I gave a couple of baths in the early mornings to the patients who were already awake, or the ones whose condition was such that a warm bath would only make them feel better. Ms. Sally, the little granny, was one patient that I paid the extra attention to. Her living ninety-three years only to be dying alone tugged at my heartstrings. I bathed her with warm soapy water and tried to be careful and keep her modesty as to maintain her dignity in her last days. I turned her and lotioned her and sang old hymns quietly the entire time. Both of my grannies loved hymns and I assumed all elderly people did. She quickly became my favorite patient.

In the ten days she was in the hospital, she never spoke a word. She never acknowledged my presence. She never even moaned when I faithfully turned her every two hours. One night I was humming “Amazing Grace” and actually thought I saw the corners of her mouth turn up. Maybe a smile? No, that couldn’t be possible. The doctors had assured me she was truly comatose.

One day when I came on my shift I immediately went to Ms. Sally’s room. She had been in my dreams during my sleep that day. I opened the door and saw her covered with perspiration. Her eyes were open and glassy. As I put my stethoscope to her back, it sounded as if her lungs were full of water. I immediately called the doctor and after much encouragement from me, he ordered IV antibiotics. I made my other rounds and everyone else was status quo. I knew, if possible, I’d spend the biggest part of my shift in her room. I did not want this little woman to die alone. I called her son in Arizona and discussed her condition. He knew she was in the hospital, but had no idea she was dying. The man was also elderly, in very poor health, and unable to travel. I couldn’t help myself, and before we hung up I asked him, “Does your mother love the Lord?”

“She is the closest thing to a saint I’ve ever known.”

My instincts were right.

When Ms. Sally’s pulse began to get very irregular, I called the doctor again. By this time it was 3:30 AM and he wasn’t happy with me. “The woman is old and dying, Sue!”

Reluctantly, he ordered the EKG I’d requested.

The tech was in the room with me when Ms. Sally’s respirations grew very shallow and nearly absent. She still had the EKG tabs attached to her when all of a sudden, she slowly straightened herself and sat up in the bed! She stretched her skinny withered arms toward the heavens. Her eyes were no longer glassy but she didn’t appear to see anything around her in the room either.

She spoke in a crackly voice just above a whisper, “I see Glory . . . it’s so beau-ti-ful!” She fell back on the pillow and the EKG machine blasted a siren. Her heart had stopped beating. She was in the glory of heaven where all faithful saints spend eternity.

Sue Henley

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